Two months after arriving in Beijing last year with a toddler and a baby in tow, I finally convinced my husband to let me send L1, our older toddler, to the private local preschool in our building.
My husband’s arguments against sending our older daughter were valid, but I was getting so stressed that I couldn’t even think through those arguments carefully. It also didn’t help that we were having Ayi issues. And so he reluctantly agreed.
Two months later, my family and I were much happier than before. I was less stressed, my husband heard fewer complaints and could focus on his work better, my younger daughter could peacefully nap in the morning while my older daughter learned to adapt to her new environment and slowly started enjoying Chinese. It took a while, but we eventually got there.
So what were some of my husband’s worries? And what is it like sending your kid to a local preschool?
1. Breakfast and Lunch is provided
And while I was getting to know L1’s potential school-to-be, I was surprised to see that they also provided breakfast AND lunch. We had to pay extra, of course, but it was definitely something we didn’t have back home. We usually had to prepare our children’s food or ask the help to bring them over during lunch time.
“How do you know the food is clean?” asked my husband once. According to the teachers in my school, the vegetables they use are from their own farm. A few months later we all actually took a trip to that farm for a school event.
If the quality of food is something you worry about as well, don’t be afraid to ask the school where they source their ingredients, even if it’s just for your peace of mind.
One of the reasons we moved our daughter to another school was because her school couldn’t give us a receipt that said “Tuition Fee”. When L1 became eligible for schooling reimbursements, we asked the school if they could provide us with Tuition Fee receipts. But because they weren’t an official school, they could only provide receipts that said “Training Fees”.
This wasn’t acceptable in my husband’s company, however, and so we moved our daughter to a different school.
3. Air Purifiers
4. They sometimes have classes until night
Many of the families who send their young children to these private preschools do it out of necessity. For families with working parents, these private preschools allow them to return to work while outsourcing childcare to a school. These preschools know it, and some have services where they can watch the children until early evening. For an additional fee, they can also provide dinner for the children.
5. Daily Pictures and Updates
At L1’s first school, they asked the parents to download an app. There they would upload photos of our children, their curriculum, photos of their meals, and more. This is something we didn’t have back home, but seems to be more common here in Beijing. And so every few days I would show my husband this app, and he would worry less about his first child and her new school.
6. Chances of Viruses are Higher
6. The Culture is Different
What are other factors parents should know before enrolling their children in a local private preschool? Share your tips in the comments section below!
Photos: Flickr, Mila, News1130.com, and Philippe Put (Flickr)
Jackie is a mom blogger over at Bringinguptheparks.com. There she writes about her family’s life and adventures in East Asia.